One of the best seasons in Texas A&M’s history has come to a close. The Aggies were handled by the Oklahoma Sooners, 77-63, in the Sweet 16 on Thursday night in Anaheim, Calif.
“Everything looked real good the first five minutes,” Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy said, according to TexAgs.com. “They adjusted and we paid so much attention to Buddy…they made us pay.”
Things were looking great for Kennedy’s squad through the first eight minutes of action. The Aggies jumped out to a 13-6 lead at the first media timeout and led 18-15 with 12:01 to go in the first half. Unfortunately, that was the last lead Texas A&M would have the rest of the way.
The Sooners closed the first half with an explosive 30-8 run and took a 45-26 lead into the intermission, which proved to be more than enough of a cushion.
The Aggies also put up a valiant effort against Buddy Hield on Thursday night, limiting him to a NCAA tournament-low 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting. The problem was other Sooners pitched in the effort. Jordan Woodard dropped 22 points and made five of his six 3-point attempts. Oklahoma also shot an efficient 49.2 percent from the floor and 44 percent from 3-point range.
Oklahoma’s underrated defense also played a key role. The Sooners stymied Texas A&M to just 34.4 percent from the floor and a poor 6-of-28 from 3-point range.
Texas A&M had played six teams ranked inside the RPI top 50 before Thursday’s contest, but Kennedy said Oklahoma was the strongest foe his Aggies had gone up against this season.
“They’re the best team we’ve played,” Kennedy said according to TexAgs.com. “No question in my mind. [Them] and Gonzaga. But [OU] is the best we’ve seen this year.”
Despite the loss, Texas A&M’s remarkable season cannot be diminished and could mark a transcendent point in program history. A&M’s Sweet 16 appearance was its first since 2007, and the team’s 28 wins are the most in school history.
Unfortunately for Kennedy, he will have to replace several of the key players who led his team this season. Seniors Alex Caruso, Danuel House, Jalen Jones and Anthony Collins played their final games in the maroon and white on Thursday. Kennedy couldn’t thank his seniors enough for helping his program reach new heights.
“I can’t say enough (about the seniors),” Kennedy said, according to TexAgs.com. “It starts with Alex Caruso. First guy I recruited. He stayed the course. (He is) What (a) program is about.”